Mental Illness is one of the larger challenges that we deal with as a community. The City of Madison is fortunate enough to have a myriad of selfless individuals and qualified agencies that strive to assist those afflicted with mental illness on a daily basis. Unfortunately, despite all of these efforts, we still are not doing enough as a community to address the challenges of mental illness. This speaks to the magnitude of the problem. It is safe to say that most of us know someone who struggles with mental illness, and unfortunately, there are still those in the community who would stigmatize our mentally ill.
A great number of individuals with mental illness are getting the treatment they need and never have to utilize police services. However, our officers are still frequently called to help with individuals diagnosed with mental illness and are experiencing a crisis. That is why all of our patrol officers receive mental health/crisis intervention training in our pre-service academy and then get periodic "booster shots" through annual in-service trainings over the course of their careers. MPD will always make this a priority training item and we have hosted other law enforcement agencies who share our same goals. We meet and exceed State of Wisconsin training hours in this important niche of our work.
Additionally, we started our Mental Health Unit (MHU) in February of 2015. This stand-alone unit collaborates with Journey Mental Health to provide coordinated, professional and compassionate police response to individuals affected by mental illness. The MHU started with five officers and in March of 2016, we added civilian Law Enforcement Crisis Workers (LECWs). In 2018, we added a third LECW, a sixth Mental Health Officer (MHO) to cover our new Midtown Station, and a dedicated Sergeant to supervise the Unit. This MHU is supplemented by almost 40 mental health liaison officers who ride in patrol services with their eyes and ears wide open for those calls where they can offer assistance. Our response to mental health calls has earned us a coveted distinction in being recognized by the Bureau of Justice Assistance as one of only ten learning sites established in the United States. As a MHU, MPD remains committed to working collaboratively with partner agencies to improve outcomes for individuals affected by mental illnesses or suffering a crisis by connecting them to needed services and diverting them away from the criminal justice system whenever possible.
Here is the link to the complete 2018 Annual Report for the MHU (https://www.cityofmadison.com/police/documents/MHOYearEndRpt2018.pdf ). This report highlights all of the good work done by the MHU and discusses the challenges officers continue to face. The report speaks for itself, but a couple of statistics are worth pointing out. In 2018, MPD officers wrote police reports in 45,702 distinct cases. Of these cases, 10% were mental health-related. This marks a consistent rise from 2016 and 2017. Another glaring statistic is the amount of time spent on emergency detentions. In 2018, MHOs spent 290.75 hours on 79 emergency detention evaluations, which translates to over seven weeks of officer time. MPD will continue to commit specialized resources and training to help address those living within our city who are struggling with mental illness and in crisis. But we will also continue to call upon others outside of the MPD to make reforms to our mental health systems as needed.
The information contained in my blog is derived from notes provided by MPD Officers-In-Charge (OIC) at the end of their shifts. Most narratives represent early and preliminary information that was gathered by an OIC from those in the field who were actively working cases. The OIC is sharing what they were being told, in the moment. In many instances, facts and circumstances, even the type of crime listed, can change as officers, detectives and investigators continue their work.
From 6:00 a.m. on 06/16/2019 through 6:00 a.m. on 06/17/2019, MPD received 383 calls for service. This number does not include parking complaints or 911 misdials. For purposes of clarification, the following abbreviations are short-hand for race designations: W=White, AA=African American, NA=Native American, H=Hispanic, ME=Middle Eastern, A=Asian, MR=Mixed Race, U=Unknown. MPD shifts are staggered as follows: 1st detail=7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 2nd detail=12 p.m. to 8 p.m., 3rd detail=3 p.m. to 11 p.m., 4th detail=8 p.m. to 4 a.m., 5th detail=11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
To further break down the 383 calls for service for the past 24-hours, this is how the calls came in per district: Central (63), East (82), Midtown (57), North (58), South (32), West (43), and Other (48). Other=these are calls for service that either do not have a sector listed or the sector is not in the City. For example, if one of our officers assists another law enforcement agency, their sector is not listed in our districts so therefore it is listed under "other".
**One Sergeant held over for third detail and one Sergeant called in early due to a staffing shortage.
1) MIDTOWN: Disturbance/Check Person – 7:18 a.m. Officers responded to Kendall Avenue for a report of a disturbance. Officers arrived in the area and met with a 23-year-old UM subject who was less than cooperative with officers. Two additional subjects (20-year-old WF and UM) were reported as being the couple who were arguing but who were no longer on scene. Officers were able to identify the female subject, and due to her living out of the area, requested that another law enforcement agency check her welfare. The female subject was contacted and no concerns/charges were substantiated. No further action deemed necessary by officers.
2) EAST: Information/Sexual Assault – 7:40 a.m. Officers responded to S. Walbridge Avenue and met with a subject/victim (19-year-old HF). The victim had been out drinking heavily the night before and believes she may have been sexually assaulted (in Milwaukee). Investigation continuing.
3) CENTRAL: Adult Arrested Person – 8:18 a.m. An officer conducted a traffic stop on N. Broom St/W. Washington Avenue. The driver/suspect (21-year-old WM) had a pick-up order from probation/parole. The suspect was arrested and conveyed to jail. The suspect was also issued various traffic citations (speeding and a red signal violation).
4) EAST: Domestic Disturbance – 11:51 a.m. Officers met with a victim (40-year-old WF) who reported being physically and sexually assaulted by her husband/suspect (44-year-old WM). The victim was evaluated/treated at a local hospital. Probable cause was developed to arrest the suspect. The suspect was arrested for battery, disorderly conduct, strangulation and intimidation of a victim (all domestic-related charges). Investigation continuing.
5) NORTH: Battery – 11:52 a.m. Officers responded to Vera Court for a report of a disturbance/battery between two subjects (23-year-old AAF victim and 32-year-old AAM suspect). The victim reported being physically assaulted by her boyfriend/suspect. The suspect was not on scene when officers arrived. The suspect was located and arrested. The suspect was conveyed to jail on charges of disorderly conduct, battery, strangulation and intimidation of a victim. Investigation continuing.
6) MIDTOWN: Drug Incident/Overdose – 12:32 p.m. Officers responded to the 500 block of N. Whitney Way reference a possible overdose involving a 14-year-old subject. The juvenile (14-year-old AAF) was conveyed to a local hospital unresponsive. The juvenile has a history of overdosing on Benadryl. The juvenile was admitted to a local hospital. No charges have been substantiated at this time. Investigation continuing.
7) WEST: Drug Incident/Overdose – 2:41 p.m. Officers responded to West Towne Mall regarding a subject/suspect (27-year-old UF) lying on the floor of the restroom and being unresponsive. The subject was alert when officers arrived. Officers observed drugs/drug paraphernalia in plain view. The suspect was conveyed to a local hospital and cited for possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. The suspect was also referred to the Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative (MARI). The suspect was left in the care of medical staff. Investigation continuing.
8) NORTH: Crash with Injuries – 5:37 p.m. Officers responded to Packers Ave/International Lane for a vehicle vs. bicycle crash. The driver (62-year-old WM) had the right-of-way and the bicyclist (30-year-old WM) entered the intersection. The bicyclist was struck and possibly has a broken leg/hip. The bicyclist was conveyed to a local hospital. No charges for the driver. Possible charges/citations for the bicyclist forthcoming. Investigation continuing.
9) CENTRAL: Trespassing – 12:08 a.m. Officers responded to E. Wilson Street for unwanted subjects/suspects (43-year-old WM, 40-year-old WM and 67-year-old WM). The suspects had been previously warned and cited for trespassing at the same establishment (Comeback Tavern). Officers arrived and discovered that the 43-year-old WM was the only suspect that had returned. The suspect was arrested and conveyed to jail to post on a trespassing citation.
10) CENTRAL: Traffic Incident – 3:15 a.m. An officer conducted a traffic stop that involved a driver/suspect (36-year-old WF) who failed to yield to a vehicle. The suspect was found to have a revoked license due to OMVWI convictions and that she had been cited 12 times since 2014 for operating after revocation. The suspect also had a pending/non-extraditable warrant from another county. The suspect was arrested for operating after revocation and conveyed to jail.